By GWENDOLYN WEILER
Moapa Valley Progress
Cole Christensen of Logandale is traveling back from Rock Springs, Wyoming this week with his head held high. Christensen was there last week to compete in the National High School Rodeo Association Finals While there, he ended up ranking in the top 20 in the cutting competition.
This major high school rodeo event hosted over 1,500 high school students from the US, Canada, Australia, and Mexico. It was held last week, July 15-21.
Christensen placed 16th in the final go-round of the cutting event with 130 points. His total score was 415.5 points on three go-rounds. Kelly Christensen, Cole’s mother and secretary of the Moapa Valley Junior High-High School Rodeo Club, estimates there were approximately 200 competitors in the cutting event.
Kelly said she and her husband are very proud of Cole’s performance and his positive attitude throughout the finals. “Cole has always thrived on pressure,” she said. “He never lets the pressure get to him.”
Cole attributed his success to practicing hard at home, staying positive, and focusing on going one run at a time. “And I have a lot of people to help me,” Cole said.
Cole was one of four members of the local club who qualified and went to nationals this year. He was the only high school participant, while Rilee Christensen, Trinity Scronce, and Hannah Fullmer all participated in the National Junior High Rodeo Association Finals in Huron, South Dakota, June 24-30.
The entire team is comprised of six students, which makes them one of the smallest teams in the state, said Amber Fullmer, one of the team’s organizers. But they are ranked as one of the highest teams statewide when you consider the percentage of their team members who qualified for nationals, Fullmer said.
Yolanda Scronce, the mother of junior high finalist Trinity Scronce, said, “A lot of times it takes more than just the individual—it often takes a whole team or family to get everything together.”
Troy Christensen, Cole’s father and the team director for the local club, said he and his wife are dedicated to helping Cole practice and succeed. But that is just par for the course, he said.
“Every kid that goes to nationals, though, I think it’s kind of the same deal,” Troy said. “The parents really help them and they’re all disciplined in how they practice and when they practice.”
Troy said he focuses on trying to keep Cole and his teammates mentally prepared for their competitions, but success is always going to be a mix of variables.
“If they can do the basics, practice correct, then get a little bit of the luck of the draw when they get to there, then they’ll do great,” Troy said. “If it’s their time, it’s their time. But there’s a thousand other kids, and they’re all trying to go for first. It’s whoever is the luckiest and most prepared.”
The high school rodeo season is officially over now until September, but Cole and his teammates don’t plan on taking a break. Cole said he plans on letting his horse rest for a week, and then “getting right back to the practice pen.”